I decided to start The Salty Ju after I wrote an aggressive track by track review of T. Swift’s 1989 one fateful October day when I was unemployed. I then sent it to my friend and forced her to read in full. And I thought to myself, WHAT IF I FORCED OTHERS TO READ MY THOUGHTS?! And thus, The Salty Ju was born. It’s a beautiful story, really. It brings a tear to my eye as I’m recounting it right now. That also could be because of the heavy rotation of Ed for the past few days but that’s neither here nor there. Since I love Ed just as much as I love Taylor, I felt like it was absolutely necessary to bring this feature back for your listening pleasure. Because what ruins an album more than reading what’s going on in my brain during each song? Nothing. Nothing, I tell ya.
1. Eraser. Ed snuck this one out a week before the CD was released and I was like MEH it’s no Castle on the Hill or Shape of You but after listening to the entire album, I immediately regretted shitting on this song. It’s a classic rap/singing combo deal from Ed but what makes it a great is that he pronounces Eraser like A Razor. It makes me think of the day I learned via twitter that if you say “rise up lights” it sounds like an Australian saying razor blades. That made for a lovely family Christmas dinner sounding like a bunch of assholes. Accents are fun.
2. Castle on the Hill. I started every single day with this song when it came out. Couldn’t kick off the day without imagining Ed doing his first kiss wrong and being puke free since 93. Instant mood changer. I’d like to say that my youth was also full of sneaking cigs and spirits in a lush green English field but like, realistically my friends and I sat around the family kitchen table, ate Doritos and took quizzes on Sporcle until 2 AM. THE GOOD OLE DAYS.
3. Dive. Ah, love song Ed. Or rather, love song mixed with a hint of sassiness. Seriously don’t call him baby unless you MEAN IT, BITCH. This is hot on the heels of Perfect for my favorite slow jam on Divide.
4. Shape of You. This bangarang was the perfect single to pair with Castle on the Hill because that gave me all the driving feels and this made me want to hit up the club and Jersey turnpike all over the dance flo. Yin and yang.
5. Perfect. Divide’s version of “Thinking Out Loud” was immediately my fave. It almost got real messy at my desk when I gave it the first listen at work and had to choke back tears. It would’ve been pretty awks if someone had come over and asked me to do something and I responded in between sobs, I DON’T DESERVE THIS, YOU LOOK PERFECT TONIGHT. Thank God I keep my headphones in at all times specifically so no one speaks to me from approximately 9AM until 5:30PM.
6. Galway Girl. If there’s one thing to tak away from this album it’s that Ed’s really kicking up the Irish jig numbers this time around. This one rocks real hard and I wish when I was in Galway I could’ve Irish stepped to this with a Guinness. Instead I bought a $50 “authentic” Irish rugby shirt, walked 2 feet out of the souvenir store and saw the same one for $17. I know, I know. Americans are stupid and uncultured. But whatevs, I could totally play a fiddle in an Irish band. I basically did when I got drunk in Ireland. Everyone loves Americans there. In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’m about to try and make every one of these songs about me. You’re welcome.
7. Happier. Ok so admittedly this song is real sad. But that just means Ed knows how to make a bangpiece mixtape. ALWAYS sneak in a sad number after an upbeat one. It’s how you keep the balance. What a sweetheart he is being happy for this hoebag who left him even though he still loves her a lot. He is far, far more mature than I ever will be.
8. New Man. Yaassssss! This song is living proof that people with an English accent can say WHATEVER they want and it will sound classy. Eyebrows waxed and his asshole bleached? Yes, ok. The only gripe I have with this song is that if you’re going to toss around comments about a bleached asshole you damn well better not bleep out the F word. Go balls to the wall, Ed! I hope whoever this song is about replies with “AND I LOVE MY NEW ASSHOLE!” Side props for Ed admitting to InstaG creeping. Stars, they’re just like us.
9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here. This is supposed to be a beautiful love song and he compares their love to a pothole in the first few seconds. Weird approach. I mean the song’s good, don’t get me wrong. But “shakes my soul like a pothole” really throws me off every damn time.
10. What Do I Know? I think this is the only song on the album that I don’t like. It will probably get skipped 99% of the time. It’s too J.May’s “Waiting on the World to Change” vibes for me (which also gets skipped every single time.) I don’t need to hear about how your song will cure the stock market crashing. Stick to singing about love and breakups and bleached bholes.
11. How Would You Feel (Paean). I don’t really understand who Paean is but a song kicking off with “you are the one, girl” is a quick way to get me to like it. Yeah, yeah it’s another mushy love song but like THEY’RE ALL SUH GOOD. Kid makes a living singing first dance songs and I respect the hell out of it.
12. Supermarket Flowers. Holy shit this one is depressing AF. Don’t listen to it unless you want to contemplate life and death. According to my superfan of a BFF (who googled it the second she first heard the song), this was written about Ed’s grandma from the perspective of his mom. So like, his mom didn’t die, his grandma did. Either way, singing about dead people going home to heaven and how sad you are is a real downer all around. Gotta be prepared for that kind of sad, like watching The Fault in Our Stars.
13. Barcelona. Ed does it again! Gets the tears rolling then brings it right back up with this Latin flava. How cultured is Ed that he can gracefully go from an Irish brogue to speaking Spanish all on one CD? Yeah it’s kind of jibberish when he tosses out “Drinking Sangria, mi niña, te amo mi cariño.” That’s like me saying, “Hola, margaritas, senorita” while shaking some maracas in a sombrero…but A+ for effort anyway.
14. Bibia Be Ye Ye. This is absolute nonsense. All I ask is that every singer I love make lyrics that I can easily learn and sing along to, so that I may properly perform a solo concert while driving. This is getting really tough when you shove made up sounds into the chorus of a song. Whatever, it’s still a banger. I forgive you, Ed. I’m still going to crush this live.
15. Nancy Mulligan. Another fun Irish snippet—I’m guessing about how Ed’s grandparents met? I’m just spitballing here, based on the lyrics. Gramps Sheeran sounds like a real badass though. Her dad was like no you don’t have permission to marry my daughter and he was like eh, F it–let’s go down by the Wexford border and do the damn thing. Between this jam and Galway Girl, I’m about 2 seconds away from booking a trip that I can’t afford to Ireland. I won’t (seriously, Dad, I won’t book another vacation I can’t afford) but I WANT TO.
16. Save Myself. Kind of a low point to end on, if I were producing I probably would’ve ended on ole Nancy Mully, but wut3v3r. I guess it’s more of a wistful life lesson to take away. LOVE YOURSELF. I don’t know, I’m trying to see the positive in this one but it’s kind of hard when he’s droning on about drinking and taking prescription pills. Get your head out of your ass and save yourself, Ed.